Attempted or frustrated murder?

August 22, 2013 8:33 pm

One evening, a man stepped out of his home and was shot by the accused. As his two daughters rushed to his aid, the accused shot one of the girls in the abdomen. The man and his daughter were rushed to the hospital. The man fully recovered after the treatment of his gunshot wound on his right forearm. His daughter however was proclaimed dead on arrival at the hospital.

The accused was charged with murder and frustrated murder, both with the use of an unlicensed firearm. In his defense, the accused claimed that the shooting incident occurred because he had acted in self-defense. He alleged that the man, who was then armed with a gun, challenged him to a fight. The man attempted to shoot him but the shotgun jammed. The accused then tried to wrestle the gun away but during the struggle, the shotgun fired. The accused claimed he did not know if anyone was shot.

Both the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals convicted the accused of murder and frustrated murder. On appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of murder but found the accused guilty not of frustrated murder, but attempted murder. Under Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, the stages in the commission of felonies or crimes are as follows:

Consummated felonies as well as those which are frustrated and attempted are punishable.

A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present; and it is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.

There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.

In a frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts of execution, which should have produced the felony as a consequence, but did not for some reason independent of the offender’s will. In an attempted felony, the offender merely begins the commission of the crime by some overt acts but does not perform all acts of execution due to some cause or accident other than the offender’s own spontaneous desistance.

In classifying the crime as attempted murder rather than frustrated murder, the High Court held:

In frustrated murder, there must be evidence showing that the wound would have been fatal were it not for timely medical interventions. If the evidence fails to convince the court that the wound sustained would have caused the victim’s death without timely medical attention, the accused should be convicted of attempted murder and not frustrated murder. In the instant case, it does not appear that the wound sustained by [the man] was mortal (People of the Philippines v. Labiaga, G.R. No. 202867, 15 July 2013, J. Carpio).